|Author (Corporate)||European Commission: DG Migration and Home Affairs|
|Series Details||COM (2021) 429|
Legislative initiative tabled by the European Commission on 20 July 2021, introducing amendments to Directive (EU) 2019/1153 as regards access of competent authorities to centralised bank account registries through the single access point.
The European Union's (EU) latest strategy to tackle organised crime highlights the need to step up the fight against criminal finances. Organised crime groups use their substantial illegal profits to infiltrate the legal economy and public institutions, eroding the rule of law and fundamental rights and undermining people’s right to safety and their trust in public authorities.
Swift access to financial information is deemed essential to effective financial investigations and successfully tracing and confiscating the instrumentalities and proceeds of crime. In this regard, it is vital to know who holds a bank account in a Member State other than that carrying out the investigation. However, in order for authorities responsible for preventing, detecting, investigating or prosecuting criminal offences in one country to obtain information on subjects of an investigation who hold bank accounts in another Member State, they currently have to collect the information via police cooperation or judicial cooperation channels. This is seen as a burdensome and time-consuming process that hampers speedy access to the information.
Directive (EU) 2015/849 - also known as the fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) - requires Member States to put in place centralised automated mechanisms to allow the identification of any natural or legal persons holding or controlling payment accounts, bank accounts and safe-deposit boxes. Directive (EU) 2019/1153 requires Member States to designate authorities competent for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences in order for them to access and search the mechanisms, also referred to as centralised bank account registries (BARs). It also requires them to include asset recovery offices among their designated competent authorities and enables Member States to designate tax authorities and anti-corruption agencies as competent authorities to the extent that these are competent for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences under national law. The draft law for a new AMLD requires countries to make BAR information through a single access point to be developed and operated by the European Commission.
The present legislative initiative seeks to extend access to the BAR single access point to the authorities competent for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences that are designated as competent authorities according to Directive (EU) 2019/1153. It was adopted by the European Commission on 20 July 2021. The plenary of the European Parliament adopted a negotiating position as regards the proposal on 13 February 2023. The Council of the European Union adopted a general approach for this file on 29 March. An informal agreement between the co-legislators on a compromise text was reached on 6 June.
|Subject Categories||Justice and Home Affairs|
|Subject Tags||Organised Crime, Police | Judicial Cooperation, Security Union, Terrorism|
|Keywords||Banks | Banking, Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing
|International Organisations||European Union [EU]|